Notes-to-Self: On giving others the benefit of the doubt.

Dear Self.

It’s about time you start owning up to your mistakes. More often than not, you’ve realised that your negative perceptions of other’s behaviour towards you have turned out to be incorrect. So often you have assumed something about someone’s life, only to realise later that your perspective is totally different to their lived reality.

Sometimes you’re right and sometimes you aren’t. But you know better than anyone else how much your negative assumptions eat away at your soul. They make you suspicious, angry and miserable. They can foster feelings of hate towards someone who may have done nothing to you in reality.

What’s the worst-case scenario of giving the benefit of the doubt? Well, you might eventually find some hard proof that your doubts were real. In which case, you haven’t lost anything by assuming the best until proven otherwise.

In the best case scenario, you will stop feeling like a victim. You’ll have a healthier relationship with yourself, and in turn with other people.

There was a time when you used to feel super paranoid all the time, remember? You used to think everyone was giving you dirty looks on the bus because you were visibly Muslim. Your face would reflect your perception of how others were perceiving you. Then one day you decided that you would stop assuming that everyone probably hates you. Instead, you would smile at the bus driver and at anyone who looked at you as you got on the bus. Remember how amazing that felt? It completely changed your experience from one of nervous anticipation of hate, to feeling confident and calm. And don’t you think that had a great impact on people who saw you? Of course it did. Your confident, friendly exterior definitely reflected on them.

Remember: it’s better to be wronged by others than to be unjust to someone else.

If someone wrongs you and you don’t suspect them, you’ll be rewarded by Allah for your good intentions, and they will be punished for the harm they did to you. But if you suspect someone who hasn’t actually done anything to you, you’ll be the one sinning.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.

[Qur’an 49:12]

How true the words of Allah are, and how incredible it is that the implementation of His words brings peace not only to your life but to everyone around you.

2 thoughts on “Notes-to-Self: On giving others the benefit of the doubt.

  1. Excellent as always , enjoying the blog very much but even more importantly I’m connecting with it and can relate to many of the points made.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Better to be wronged by others than to be unjust to someone else. ” Those are words I need to remember especially as I’m trying to avoid making assumptions about others. Beautiful blog as always. Keep up the hard work 💕.

    Liked by 1 person

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